Schools Are Armed With COVID Relief Funding, And They Need Tech Help

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With billions in relief funding approved and more coming, the education market should present significant opportunities for AV integrators.

AV Integrators that already count K-12 and higher education institutions among their top customers may want to start having more in-depth conversations about that they can do to help them reopen safely and effectively and meet the educational needs of students.

The education sector isn’t always the most lucrative since many of these schools – particularly in public education – are often strapped for cash, but the sector is getting a big boost from the Biden Administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan that includes $170 billion for schools.

Congress has yet to approve that package, but legislators in December passed a $900 billion relief package that included about $82 billion for education.

This also comes after the CARES Act, the first COVID-19 relief package passed last spring, provided about $31 billion in education funding to the education sector.

If the Biden Administration’s plan is passed, that means schools would have been given $283 billion in relief, with a good portion of that going toward technology designed to support distance learning and enhance classroom learning to make up for that lost in-person instruction time.

The two bills and the one currently being debated in Congress allow for a generally broad use of these funds, including education technology like endpoint devices, classroom tech and ensuring distance learners have the same opportunity as students on campus.

One pain point for educators is having to teach students who are physically in the classroom simultaneous to teaching students who are watching from their laptops. According to a recent NBC News article on this topic, teachers are forced to use a litany of devices – several laptops, mobile devices and classroom projectors to meet the needs of students in both locations.

Simply using a built-in laptop camera and microphones to capture the in-class instruction for online students is not even remotely adequate. These schools need integrated solutions that make teaching both sets of students easier.

In the classroom, educators need:

  • PTZ cameras that can track educators and other students so nobody needs to worry about moving the camera.
  • Microphones that can handle a noisy classroom and provide clear audio to remote learners.
  • Projectors or interactive whiteboards that can be seen by both groups of students.

For distance learning, students and educators need:

  • Better cameras so teachers and students can clearly see one another during class.
  • Headsets that can help block out unwanted noise and make one-on-one instruction more private.
  • Microphones so educators can freely move about their workspace and still be heard clearly.

As schools begin to think about how to bring students back to the classroom and still support distance learners with the help of billions in government funding, consider reaching out to your education customers and offer solutions to their challenges.